Construction of the multi-lane tunnel under Karnaphuli River titled ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mojibur Rahman Tunnel’ in Chattogram is going on in full swing. Meanwhile, 150 meters boring work has already been completed till date. Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), a high quality under-river digging machine, which has been brought from China, is now being used to dig the tunnel.
This machine is advancing with five meters excavation towards Anwara every day. And it is not only conducting boring work but also constructing roads automatically. ‘When the latest technology machine will be fully operational it will bore 10 meters daily’- a project concern said. Besides the boring work, a rail track is there to install concrete tunnel segment at the same time. Eight segments will enter through the track and will join one part with another like a circle. Each eight segment will be two meter round ring.
Construction company information showed, for the entire tunnel total 19488 tunnel segments will be needed. Of the total, till now 8700 segments have been prepared. Among them 2000 segments have reached Chattogram from China. Each day 32 tunnel segments are being made in a China factory. This is the first ever under-river tunnel in South Asia as well as in the country. The main tunnel will be 3.4 kilometres long in two tubes under the Karnaphuli River. Some 5.35 kilometres of approach roads on the east and west sides of the tunnel and a 727-metre bridge will connect Anwara with Chattogram.
China Construction Company is responsible for the tunnel construction. For the tunnel security, an agreement of Tk 65 crore was signed with Bangladesh Navy. Members of Navy are providing security at the construction side. Earlier, Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved the much-hyped multilane road tunnel project under the River Karnaphuli involving Tk 8,446.64 crore with Chinese assistance in November 2015.
Under the proposed tunnel, train and road communications are expected to be introduced for the first time in the country. Located at the estuary of the Karnaphuli, the dual two-lane shield-driven tunnel will serve both urban and transit traffic and will relieve the traffic pressure on the existing two bridges.